Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-06-09



VIEWPOINT The common thread of LGBTQ+ stigma and mental health

This article shared 2354 times since Wed Sep 2, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

The relationship between the LGBTQ+ community and mental health has always varied from country to country. But when religion enters the conversation, a whole new aspect escalates the stigma.

Countries all over the world have high rates of mental health problems within their LGBTQ+ communities. This is often because of structural stigma escalated by religious beliefs against LGBTQ+ acceptance and religious leaders fanning those flames.

Religion is not the only social factor determining acceptance of a nation's LGBTQ+ community. Additional factors like political climate, education, healthcare and structural stigma are all very relevant as to why LGBTQ+ discourse is the way it is in a given country. Religion lies among many factors—but it has a mass following.

In 2016, Italian bishops cut back the release of an LGBTQ+ film; it wound up being restricted to 10 movie theaters under the belief that it was "indecent." The homophobic rhetoric and influence of religious leaders, such as what occurred in Italy, only escalates a difficult situation for their LGBTQ+ community.

A 2017 Pachankis and Branstrom life satisfaction graph found that an LGBTQ+ individual's life satisfaction would be much higher in a low structurally stigmatic country, like Finland, versus a high structurally stigmatic country like Poland. Poland and Finland are quite different countries, but among the notable differences between them is that Poland is more traditional and religious. Krakow's Catholic archbishop, Marek Jedraszewski publicly condemned the "LGBTQ+ ideal." Many of its leaders have spoken ill of the LGBTQ+ community, insinuating that by being gay, you're committing a sin against God and are a threat to "traditional values." This fear-mongering has led to "LGBT-free zones'' throughout the country. When a religious leader with extraordinary influence and power escalates the tension for in the LGBTQ+ community, discrimination will ensue.

However, religion constantly changes in the lenses of culture, society, language, and history. When we look at a different country, such as Ghana, their views toward Christianity play out differently than somewhere in Eastern Europe might. The justification to discriminate looks different as well. For example, the Criminal Offenses Act of Ghana criminalizes consensual same-sex acts between adults under "unnatural carnal knowledge." Offenses can lead to up to three years in prison. Ghanian Pentecostal-Charismatic Churches ( GPCC ) have contributed heavily to anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and the destructive social stigma, especially considering their association with political leaders and media organizations.

Of course, the United States is no exception. Although we applaud ourselves for being progressive compared to many other countries, there's still a lot of work to be done and a lot of work that took far too long to obtain. The performative, hyper-religious, conservative population is a ball and chain strapped to the structural progression of the LGBTQ+ community. It was only a few weeks ago that LGBTQ+ individuals were granted job security based on sexual orientation because of the Supreme Court's ruling on the landmark Civil Rights Law—which was opposed by religious groups. Within that same week the GOP gave the green light to strip away healthcare privileges from many LGBTQ+ residents, which was a win for President Trump's heavily religious base.

The consequences of this game of back-and-forth with basic rights is detrimental. Mark Hatzenbuehler conducted an experiment that measured the mental health of LGBTQ+ communities based on before and after certain states passed policies against marriage equality in 2004. The data found a 36.6% increase in mood disorders after a same-sex marriage ban. Additional data also found that PTSD, dysthymia, generalized anxiety disorder, and comorbidity we're all much higher among LGBTQ+ individuals living in states with structural forms of stigma than states without it. Many factors in a given country contribute to LGBTQ+ structural stigma, but when discrimination is escalated by a religious base, the consequences worsen.

Those stuck at the bottom rungs of the equality ladder are at much more severe risk of mental health disorders than other "progressive" countries. But the truth is that even in ostensibly progressive, left-leaning countries, discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals still exists with devastating consequences and that's why the push for equality, justice, proper funding and fair research is so significant. It's important to prevent religious intolerance from slowing the progression toward justice for LGBTQ+ individuals because the difference is between life and death.

Emily Reilly is studying journalism and film at DePaul University, and has written for The DePaulia and Windy City Times.

This article shared 2354 times since Wed Sep 2, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

LETTER: Pride, a time for hope
Pride is so much more than a parade, a march or even a demonstration for the LGBTQAI community. In other words, this is an opportunity for us to celebrate our diversity among our various communities, and ...

Gay News

Essential tips for your COVID-free travel
COVID-19 will make travel a bit more complicated this summer. Going to Europe? Taking a cruise? Visiting Hawaii, San Juan or St. Lucia? Or maybe you are planning a road trip? The rules for traveling responsibly ...

Gay News

New Broadway Youth Center being readied for 2021 opening
Work continues on Howard Brown Health's (Howard Brown) new 20,000 square-foot Broadway Youth Center (BYC) facility at 1053 W. Irving Park Rd. BYC has spent years looking for a permanent home. After launching in Lake View, ...

Gay News

Howard Brown Health looks ahead to post-pandemic Chicago
As more Chicagoans get vaccinated against the COVID-19 infection, officials at Howard Brown Health (Howard Brown) are preparing their responses to a health landscape that will likely be much different from what it was before the ...

Gay News

HIV at 40: Erie Family Health Center, focused on helping at-risk communities
HIV/AIDS disproportionately affects Black communities—with Black gay and bisexual Black men and Black trans women being the most affected population than any other group in the country. More specifically, one in two Black MSM (men who ...

Gay News

HIV at 40: Dr. Anthony Fauci on the early days of another pandemic
Dr. Anthony Fauci has been called "America's doctor"—and with good reason. His face and advice regarding COVID have seemingly been omnipresent since the virus affected the masses early in 2020. However, decades before the word "coronavirus" ...

Gay News

Howard Brown Health announces first Fellowship Class of Future Public Leaders Program
--From a Howard Brown Health press release - (Chicago, Ill., June 7, 2021) - Howard Brown Health is honored to announce the first six fellows to receive paid internships as part of the Gregory Shapen Public Health Fellowship Endowment Fund. The program was established ...

Gay News

Harold J. Phillips appointed director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy
--From a press release - Statement from Jeffrey S. Crowley, distinguished scholar and director of the Infectious Disease Initiatives at the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University Law Center: I applaud President Biden's appointment of ...

Gay News

Gov. Pritzker issues guidelines for Illinois reopening on June 11
--From a press release - SPRINGFIELD — Following weeks of steady decreases in new positive COVID-19 cases and with over 67% of residents age 18 and older receiving their first vaccine dose, Governor JB Pritzker is releasing guidelines for Phase 5 ...

Gay News

Planned Parenthood Illinois launches COVID-19 vaccine awareness campaign
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Planned Parenthood Illinois Action (PPIA) is kicking off a summer-long COVID-19 vaccine awareness campaign with two virtual Community Conversations on June 17 and June 24 (Spanish language event) ...

Gay News

Howard Brown, partners launch research collaborative on COVID and LGBTQs
In order to bridge the gap in knowledge about COVID-19 health experiences for LGBTQ people, five federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) that specialize in reducing barriers to care for LGBTQ populations—along with The PRIDE Study, the ...

Gay News

Celebrating 5M LGBTQ+ with disabilities for Pride 2021
--From a press release - Washington, D.C., June 1 — June once again marks National LGBTQ+ Pride Month and offers the nation the opportunity to reflect on the incredible contributions of the LGBTQ+ community. Our nation is at its best when ...

Gay News

Wisconsin Governor blocks use of federal money for conversion therapy for minors
--From a press release - MADISON, WI — Today, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers signed an Executive Order directing the Department of Health Services (DHS), the Department of Children and Families (DCF), and the Department of ...

Gay News

GLAAD at Pride: Protect the most vulnerable among us
--From a press release - New York, NY - Tuesday, June 1, 2021 - GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, today released a statement to honor the start of Pride Month, highlighting the ...

Gay News

Chicago drag personality and store offer 'Bella Box by Denali'
Chicago drag queen/figure skater Denali Foxx (from season 13 of RuPaul's Drag Race) is partnering with the Chicago "highbrid" boutique Canna Bella Lux and the Chicago LGBTQ+ collective Peach Presents on the Bella Box by Denali—a ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.